Monday, June 6, 2011

Goodbye, Old Friend

I'm sad. It's probably not a rational sadness, but it doesn't lessen the sadness.  I am probably one of the most sentimental people ever, and a huge part of my life is going away. You see, tomorrow is the last day of school for an old friend...forever.  It's not someone who is retiring.  Once in a while, I can see friends I have worked with who have retired. While it's not the same, they are still in my lives.  No, this is something far more permanent.  I will never see this old friend again, except in photographs. This old friend is my old elementary school building, King Elementary.

One last look at my old school
I'm sure I just lost a bunch of you.  Some who know me well have heard all this before, and you are probably rolling  your eyes about now and surfing on.  That's ok.  Not everyone is sentimental, but I am, and I am writing about this to help myself deal with it.

King School entered my life in the fall of 1961, when I entered first grade. In those days, King housed grades 1--6, with only 2 classes of each grade.  I went there all 6 years, all the way through sixth grade.  I can't say all memories of King are happy--for instance, my first grade teacher hated me, and I almost hated school because of it.  Once first grade was over, though, I had a series of really awesome teachers.  I believe I am in education, albeit in the school office, because of my wonderful foundation of learning that I found at King.

my first classroom on the right
My kids all went there as well, so I spent many more years in my first school working as a PTA volunteer.  They will probably be affected by the demolition of the old school, but since they have moved on to other towns in other parts of the country, it probably won't be as dramatic for them.  I live near the school, so I have watched the progress of the new building for many months now; day, after day, after day.

I'm not totally oblivious to the fact that the old building has been long outgrown and is very old and substandard.  I most certainly recognize the need for a new building.  It is long-overdue and much deserved by the students and staff.  I get that.  The new building is a beautiful piece of architecture, all shiny and new, with bells and whistles galore. I am very happy for those students and staff.

So now the long-awaited day is here. The old King school building's last day of school is tomorrow, June 7, 2011. I just returned from walking around outside it, taking pictures with my camera, logging away pictures in my mind.  I will miss seeing the old building, simply because it has been such a fixture in my life. It has meant a lot to many others as well, if they would admit it.  It's hard to lose a piece of your history.  By the end of this week, I will have lost all 3 of the school buildings I attended in this town: King, the oldest part of what used to be Van Buren Junior High (now Butterfield Jr. High), and the high school.  Every one of those buildings have had to make way for newer and better buildings. I miss all of them. I have always loved school, and the old buildings are representative of a very important part of my life.  So be it.  Life goes on.
Goodbye, old friend.  I will miss you.